CMH to offer Mental Health First Aid Training
Community Mental Health continues to participate in the national initiative to increase mental health literacy by hosting a Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training program. One of the most promising evidence-based public education programs in the United States today is Mental Health First Aid.
There are two types of MHFA courses, adult and youth; CMH is offering the adult course and it is appropriate for anyone 18 years and older. Just as CPR training helps a person with no clinical training assist an individual following a heart attack, MHFA training is designed to give people the skills to assist someone who is developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis such as contemplating suicide. In both situations, the goal is to help support an individual until appropriate professional help arrives. Mental Health First Aiders learn a single 5-step strategy that includes assessing risk, respectfully listening to and supporting the individual in crisis, and identifying appropriate professional help and other supports. Participants are also introduced to risk factors and warning signs for mental health or substance use problems, engage in experiential activities that build understanding of the impact of illness on individuals and families, and learn about evidence-supported treatment and self-help strategies.
Mental Health First Aid is an international program proven to be effective. Peer-reviewed studies published in Australia, where the program originated, show that individuals trained in the program:
grow their knowledge of signs, symptoms and risk factors of mental illnesses and addictions; can identify multiple types of professional and self-help resources for individuals with a mental illness or addiction; increase their confidence in and likelihood to help an individual in distress; and show increased mental wellness themselves and are better able to monitor and deal more effectively with their own levels of stress and frustration.
Before you can know how to help, you need to know when to help. This is called mental health literacy, or a basic understanding of what different mental illnesses and addictions are, how they can affect a person’s daily life, and what helps individuals experiencing these challenges get well. You learn about depression and mood disorders, anxiety disorders, trauma, psychosis, and addictions/substance use disorders. MHFA teaches about recovery and resiliency, the belief that individuals experiencing these challenges can and do get better, and use their strengths to stay well.
Studies also show that the program reduces the social distance created by negative attitudes and perceptions of individuals with mental illnesses. When it comes to mental health issues, one frequently hears about the inherent challenge of the stigma of mental illness. Stigma is a feeling of shame or disgrace that also involves a great deal of fear; the fear of not understanding a problem, of doing or saying the “wrong” thing, and of not knowing what to do when someone needs help. Therefore, one of the best ways to decrease stigma is to provide current and accurate information on mental illness and on how to help an individual experiencing a problem or crisis, MHFA does just that.
MHFA is intended for all people and organizations that make up the fabric of a community. The course is presented to chambers of commerce, professional associations, hospitals, nursing homes, rotary clubs, parent organizations, social clubs, and other groups. Professionals who regularly interact with a lot of people (such as police officers, human resource directors, and primary care workers), school and college leadership, faith communities, friends and family of
individuals with mental illness or addiction, or anyone interested in learning more about mental illness and addiction should get trained.
Gogebic CMH is again hosting this FREE 8-hour certification training course scheduled for Friday, October 17th from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. at the CMH building in Wakefield, and lunch is included. Registrations are limited. For more information regarding the class or to register, contact Missy Lane at CMH at 229-6105. For more information regarding MHFA, visit their web site at